Imagine having a consumption of 6.9l/100km, having the ability to destroy supercars, and ooze sex appeal. Gary Martins’ BMW 140d has it all, and more.

By Shudley Daniels


The light went green, I dropped the clutch, and the little Mazda had the perfect launch. I was gone. 300 metres down the strip and I checked my mirrors – the Polo was nowhere to be seen. I was relieved, albeit for a fleeting moment, because my relief quickly turned to despair as, just before the line, the VW came smoking past me. I had just lost. To a Polo. A diesel Polo, smog ‘n all!

In those days it was quite embarrassing when you got annihilated by a smoker, but it was also the start of the technological revolution, especially when it came to the diesel engine. Cleaner diesel was becoming available and tuning packages made its appearance on the racing scene.

These days, it comes as no surprise when diesel motors make appearances on the strip, and the higher end vehicles, like BMW’s, produce tons of power when parameters are altered. Gary Martins was never going to settle for just software and a downpipe, especially since he is a bit of a BMW guru. Nothing less than a full engine swap was going to make this one of the most unique BMW’s in the country, and this is definitely one of the more impressive builds I’ve seen in a while. It takes OEM+ to a whole new level. It is a far cry from the little F20 120d it once was, and from the get-go, one notices that the mean BMW M2 front end and twin-pipe M rear bumper sets this car apart from the rest of the hot hatches. Another contributing factor to the evil demeanour is the matte black paint job. Other subtle but classy body mods include BMW M4 mirror covers, a CSP front lip, side sills and boot spoilers.

Rolling stock is from one of my favourite brands, and one cannot go wrong with 20-inch Vossens in a custom colour. The braking system is as impressive as the bodywork, if not more so. At the front, BMW F10 M5 brakes provide more than adequate stopping power, while from behind the rear wheels peak the discs and calipers sourced from a BMW M135i. The thigh gap is taken care of by H&R lowering springs, and enhancing the stance, but more importantly, the handling, are K-Mac adjustable camber plates.

The cabin has a plethora of BMW OEM goodies as well, kitted out with BMW M135 seats and interior panels. BMW navigation along with video was retrofitted and the custom dash received some tasteful red stitching, a retrofitted cluster which includes cruise control, and Glowshift boost and nitrous gauges. Oh, and an BMW X5 paddle-shift steering has been fitted as well. How kwaai is that?!

As mentioned before, Gary decided to do a complete engine swap, so a N57Z motor was sourced from a BMW X5 40d. Before it was mated to the 640d 8-speed transmission, it was treated to some porting, and a ceramic coated exhaust manifold. Exhaust gasses exit the manifold into a straight pipe 86mm exhaust system. The cooling system reads like something out of the movie Frozen, with no less than three water radiators, an external gearbox cooler, a custom intercooler and a water meth kit. Remember I mentioned a nitrous gauge? A 75-horsepower nitrous kit, which includes a heater and purge system, has been fitted but there has been no need to use it as yet.

Power is delivered to the BMW 330d limited slip differential and driveshafts via the tuned gearbox, and this car makes some serious power! 355kw and…wait for it…ten fifty and two Nm of torque…listen properly…1052Nm! Add some Mickey Thompson rubber to the mix and what you get is a proper street sleeper that rips up the quartermile in 12,3 seconds, with a 0-100kmh time of only 4,2 seconds! Oh, and did I mention the meth and nitrous oxide wasn’t used yet?

I’m known to be a lover of that other German marque, and I often take the piss out of BMW drivers, but this is one BMW that I have fallen totally in love with. It is just so different, but just so right. The work done is of an exceptional quality, and this is one car that, from a technical point of view, blows my mind. It is not just about the appealing appearance, or how it performs, but the sheer amount of modification, and know-how, that makes this one of the more impressive BMW’s in the country.

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